Carmel Magazine

Summer l Fall 2013

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036 Sharon Randall_Carmel Mag 7/26/13 7:50 AM Page 1 POSTCARDS FROM HOME SHARON RANDALL Follow the Sun I t seems I have a love-hate rela- tionship with the sun. When I was a child, I could swear the sun would reach down with its long fingers and beckon me to follow it. It got me into trouble more than once. "Stay in the shallows!" my mother would order when we went swimming in Green River Cove, "or I'll make you get out and sit on a rock!" The river was dark and foreboding with a muddy, mushy bottom that sucked at your feet and harbored all sorts of nasty stuff, catfish and tin cans and shards of broken glass. I wasn't much of a swimmer, let alone the kind of person anyone, then or now, would call brave. I did not want to cause Unfortunately, I had a tendency to overdose, totally disregarding something else my mother used to say: 'Too much of a good thing is too much.' my mother to lose her religion. But the sunlight only played on the deepest part of the river, not among the shadows of the trees that lined banks. Some people like sun. Others prefer shade. I've always had a weakness for light. So when my mother turned her trying to keep three kids in the shallows, so to speak, to think about it. Then my children grew up and my husband died and I found myself longing for the sun. So I began going back to the South for long visits to see family and friends and rivers and lakes and mountains that I called "home," and to spend a lot of time in the sun. My mother used to say, as she hung wash on the line, "The best disinfectant is sunshine." After my husband died, I used sunshine not quite like a disinfectant, but like a really good medicine for any ailment. Unfortunately, I had a tendency to overdose, totally disre- garding something else my mother used to say: "Too much of a good thing is too much." Years later, after I remarried, my new husband took a job in Las Vegas, and we moved to the desert, where most every day the weather forecast is two simple words: Abundant sunshine. In the seven years we've been here, I've soaked up a lifetime of sunshine. It felt good. Until last year, when a doctor removed a "suspicious" mole from my face and left a scar that looks like I got bitten by a catfish. Now when I go swimming, I slather myself in sunscreen that has an SPF of about 5 billion and wear a hat so big it makes toes, praying, "Please, God, don't let And my husband—who slathers on the same sunscreen shine, squishing mud between my me step on a catfish." And there, for a moment, I would be happy. Then the current would pull me pants to drag me in, and I'd end up spending the rest of the day sitting on a rock, getting stung by yellow jackets. When I was 19, I left my family in the South and fol- lowed the sun to California. I followed it all the way to the Pacific Ocean and a rocky outcropping of land called the Monterey Peninsula. And then, for the next 30 years or so, I lived in the fog. There were many days of sunshine, but many more, it seemed, of fog—a fog so dense and engulfing that my children called it the "white monster." C ARMEL too busy doing laundry and going to basketball games and back, I'd inch my way out to the sun- under and my stepfather would have to wade out in his work 36 Did I miss the sun? Probably. But most of the time I was MAGAZINE•SUMMER/FALL me look like the Flying Nun. and wears a worn-out, faded Clemson hat—dares to snicker. Fine. It's a small price to pay, a tiny concession, to get to stay alive and keep following the sun. OK, I told you all that to tell you this: Life is too short to stay in the shallows. Or sit on a rock. Don't worry about currents or catfish or people who snicker. You can follow the sun every day into the deepest parts of life. Just be sure to wear sunscreen and a really big hat and see your dermatologist once a year. Sharon Randall is a syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. This column is used by permission. She divides her time between the Monterey Peninsula and "Las Vegas of All Places." She can be contacted at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson, NV 89077 or at 2013

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